A portrait of Professor Mart Saarma (b. 1949) of the University of Helsinki Institute of Biotechnology has been unveiled at Viikki Campus. At the request of Saarma, the portrait was painted by Estonian artist Margus Meinart.
Professor Saarma received his doctorate at the University of Tartu, Estonia, in biochemistry and molecular biology in 1975. He joined the Institute of Biotechnology as director in 1990 and continued in this capacity until 2008. Mart Saarma worked as the director of Biocenter Finland in 2008-2009, the director of the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Molecular and Integrated Neuroscience Research in 2008-2013, and academy professor in 2009-2013. Subsequently, he has continued his work as a professor and research director at the Institute of Biotechnology, part of the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE).
Professor Saarma’s research focuses on nerve growth factors, in particular CDNF and MANF. He has been active in creating practical solutions related to his research results, and he holds numerous patents. In 2009 Professor Saarma established HermoPharma Ltd together with his colleagues. The company currently operates under the name Herantis Pharma Plc.
During his long career, Professor Saarma has been a member of or chaired several academic advisory boards both in Finland and abroad, in addition to which he has been a member of numerous academic assessment committees. He has received several awards for his contribution to science.
The European Research Council (ERC) appointed Mart Saarma as one of the 22 members of its Scientific Council for the term 2011-2013. In February 2015 the Scientific Council appointed Saarma as one of its three vice-chairs.
Professor Saarma has been an external member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters since 2000 and a member of Academia Europæa since 2015.
Rector Jari Niemelä of the University of Helsinki accepted the portrait as part of the art collection of the University of Helsinki.
Research group Neurotrophic Factors and Regeneration